slanted door\'s spring rolls
ingredients
all
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 whole thai chiles
small, preferably red ones
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
or more to taste
1 cup sweet rice
cooked
1/3 cup miso paste
1/4 cup water
or more if needed to thin peanut sauce
1 whole egg yolk
1/2 cup shallot oil
leftover oil from frying shallots, could also use canola oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
10 oz shrimp
medium in size, easy-peel in shell if available
10 oz rice vermicelli
thin
1/2 lbs pork butt
1 head red leaf lettuce
leaves separated
10 pieces rice paper
round
shallot mayo
sambal
15 sprigs mint
fresh, leaves only
cookware
Charles Phan’s Slanted Door spring rolls are one of our favorite foods. We could eat them every day and feel forever satisfied. They are portable, savory, and refreshing. One weekend, we decided that it was high time that we learned how to make this recipe. We felt like we won the lotto when we found the recipe online! This recipe is a lot of work, but it is very much worth it to be able to eat one of our favorite foods at home.

Adapted from the recipe posted on CUESA's website and the recipe published in Charles Phan's Vietnamese Home Cooking.
1
For the peanut sauce, combine the peanuts, thai chili, garlic, and sugar in a food processor until it forms a fine paste.
2
Then add the ketchup, lemon juice, sweet rice, and miso paste. Process to combine. Add water as needed to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
3
For the shallot mayo, whisk the shallot oil drop by drop into the egg yolk until the mixture emulsifies and thickens. Add the rest of the oil in a steady stream while whisking vigorously. Your mayo should be thick. Whisk in the salt and reserve. (To Charles Phan's dismay, when we don't have time for this step, we just use store-bought mayo.)
4
Rinse out the saucepan used to boil the rice noodles, then fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Poach the shrimp in it for 3 minutes. Pull the shrimp out (reserve poaching water) and rinse with cold water. Shell, devein, and cut lengthwise.
5
In the saucepan, boil the rice noodle until cooked per package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Then rinse with hot water, and finish with a final rinse of cold water. (This process keeps the noodles from sticking to each other.) Drain and reserve.
6
Bring the poaching water from the shrimp to a boil, then simmer the pork in it for about 20 minutes until it reaches 150°F. Remove from water and rest; temp should rise to 160°F and juices should run clear. Slice thin (about 1/8") against the grain after it has cooled. If prepping the pork in advance, store it in the fridge then slice it just before using.
7
Wash and dry the red leaf lettuce. Cut it into rectangles that are about 2 inches by 4 inches.
8
Fill the plate with water and soften the rice paper in it for 3 seconds. Spread over a large, clean working surface.
9
Towards the bottom third of the rice paper, lay down the lettuce (flatten to crack the rib), a strip of mayonnaise and sambal. Then stack on 3 mint leaves, 3 pieces of pork, and about 1/2 cup of rice noodle.
10
Fold the left and right sides of the rice paper over the filling. Fold up the bottom, then roll the rice paper halfway into a tight cylinder. Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, along the crease. Continue to roll then seal.
11
Place finished rolls on a platter lined with a damp towel. Cut into thirds and serve immediately with the peanut sauce.
source: Charles Phan's Vietnamese Home Cooking
notes:
The flavor profile of this recipe matches that of Slanted Door. However, we found the rolling to be challenging; Slanted Door’s rolls definitely look way better than ours. While we need major help with our rolling, we did find that moistening the rice paper on both sides for a brief second made the wrapper perfect for rolling. It seems too thick at first, but it softened while we piled on the filling, and it was just flexible enough to handle by the time we were ready to wrap. When we softened the rice paper for 5 seconds per the package instructions, the rice paper got too soft, and started to tear when we’d try to pull it in for a tight roll.

Because we like spicy food, we incorporated some sambal into the spring roll. We added it along with the mayo because sambal tastes good next to the creaminess of mayo. To make it easier to distribute the mayo, we simply transfer it into a ziplock bag, then cut the corner and squeeze out a nice strip of mayo for each roll.

The spring rolls don’t store well for long because the rice paper wrapping gets tough. If you have more ingredients than people who can help eat, store the leftover filling ingredients in the fridge, then just soften some fresh rice paper and roll yourself a new batch the next day. We often do all the prep on a Friday, roll ourselves a batch that night, store half of the filling and sauce in the fridge, then roll ourselves another batch on Saturday.